Pamela Wilson

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Let’s Talk: What’s Your Biggest Business Challenge Right Now?

These past few weeks, I’ve been speaking personally with Big Brand System readers.

It’s the latest incarnation of my Big Brand System Focus Group. The last time I ran a focus group was back in late 2012, and a lot has changed since then.

But one thing hasn’t changed at all. It turns out that back in 2012, and today in 2015 I had the same reaction after speaking personally with many of you:

“Wow: this is an amazing group of people!”

Challenges as varied as you are

One of the most important things you can do when running a focus group is to ask a consistent set of questions of everyone you talk to. It makes it much easier to compare answers and draw out the similarities and differences.

This year, as in 2012, I asked focus group members:

“What is your biggest challenge right now?”

Among the many answers I heard were:

  • How to re-position and reinvent my business
  • How to appeal to a market that’s willing to pay me well
  • How to manage my projects, increase efficiency, and systematize my business
  • How to morph my hard-won expertise into a new business venture
  • How to market my business within a specific geographic location

It’s your turn: tell me about your biggest challenge

Now I’d like to give you a turn. Cruise on down to the comments section, and tell me:

  • What challenge is keeping you up at night right now?
  • What business puzzle are you working on?
  • What’s holding you back and not allowing you to move forward in your business?

I’ll start

As mention in the Weekend Digest newsletter where I invited folks to join my focus group, I am looking for ways to serve the Big Brand System audience with the limited time I have available due to my amazing full-time job.

Speaking with you has given me some great ideas, so thank you.

OK, your turn:

What’s your biggest business challenge right now?

Pamela Wilson

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31 thoughts on “Let’s Talk: What’s Your Biggest Business Challenge Right Now?”

  1. Website is working great for lead generation. My problem is I really don’t know what makes it so attractive to my exact target audience. If I had a better idea, I would feel more confident about repeating my success, or applying my success to a different market in the future

    • Peter, I’m glad to hear the site’s working well!

      What are your options for asking customers why they chose your business?

      Could you offer (for example) a free “something” with a first order if they’ll fill out a survey for you? You don’t have to get an answer from everyone — just enough people to show you the main trends.

  2. My list is long. Lol! In August I became a full-time writer and entrepreneur, something I hadn’t planned on happening for another 2 years. While I’m excited it happened sooner, I’m struggling to play catchup. My primary challenges are some you mentioned.

    1. Systemizing my business: projects, and programs
    2. Website updated so my brand reflects my business (author and business owner). Splitting into two, but want them linked into each other.
    3. Increasing book sales
    4. Managing my business from a different country it was established in. Can you say tax issues?!

    Excited to see what you’ve got planned!

    • Elke, the first year in business is always full of upheaval: welcome to the club!

      Good luck with it all: that’s quite a list, but you’ll have a real sense of accomplishment as you move through it. 🙂

  3. I’m starting a new on-line business – it’s both exciting and daunting! My biggest challenge is where to start. I have so many ideas and just get confused about what to do first when it comes to creating my website. P.S. I love your site content!

    • Carm, that’s a pretty common problem, and I think lots of us can relate to it!

      Not sure where you’re at with things, but I usually recommend creating a ‘minimum viable website,’ with a Home, About, and Contact page at the very least.

      Then it’s a good idea to make a free offer of some kind and begin collecting names on an email list, because you can never be too early with that!

      I hope that helps. It’s hard at first when there’s so much to do, but just chip away at this minimal setup and then you can add to it over time.

  4. Deep question, Pamela. Thanks for sending us directly to the roots of our so called “problems”.
    My deepest challenge now is how can I help more people to discover their own powers; powers such as… “You can do it if you really want to!” There are so many people out there who forgot these words. I know I can do it 🙂 but now, thanks to your question, I am also digging…

  5. Yes to all that you heard in your focus group!!! I’m creating a new service offering that is a definite need and I have my target market, BUT the challenge finding where their needs and their values (i.e. exactly what they’ll spend money on and how much!) meet. While that’s a moving target in and of itself, marketing the service I end up deciding upon is a whole other animal. It feels like we all just say the same things over and over again in our marketing and it starts to feel hollow after awhile, even though it’s ‘authentic marketing’ – cynicism reigns supreme regardless! I’m not sure how to approach my marketing in a way that REALLY does resonate with my ideal clients.
    Thank you for all you do, Pamela! I’ve followed you for years now and always get great value out of what you offer.

  6. Hi Pamela,
    Thanks for opening up this question. For the past year I’ve been blessed with great opportunities to make a real difference for a client that I really like.

    While I came in as the architect of a new OMS, which my team is building now, they’ve also taken my advice on revamping their websites and are now willing to let me write direct-response copy for them (the career I continue to work towards.)

    My challenge now is that they consume almost all of my time. But I want to keep my pipeline open. How did you reconcile your new engagement with your desire to acquire new clients?

    • It’s always a tough call when the majority of your income and your time commitment are being poured into one client.

      Believe me, I know. I’ve been in that position twice in my career, and both times (unfortunately) I lived to regret it.

      You might just need to carve out “untouchable” time every week that you keep for yourself. Sometimes choosing a time of day and day of the week can help, like: “Every Tuesday and Thursday morning are for my own project, no exceptions.”

      Glad to hear you’re making progress toward your goal!

  7. Still trying to get off the ground.
    Have not nailed down exact audience other than “small business owners”.
    Working on first 5 posts for website blog.
    Working on the tech side trying to get better with
    site design etc.
    Doing more reading than writing.
    Lots to do.
    Thanks Pam. Enjoy Big Brand and Copyblogger.

  8. Right now, challenge is getting back on track after my husband’s cancer issues that took some of my time and now his death 3 weeks ago. I do have a partner so not all is lost, but he can’t do everything. I need to get back to people that I couldn’t due to time constraints and wonder what you think would be the best way to address people on the time gap and lack of follow-up.

    • Oh Louise, I’m so sorry to hear this. You have my condolences.

      It must be really tough right now. {{{Big hugs}}} to you.

      The most effective way to handle this might be to state the truth without going into a lot of detail:

      “I’ve been managing a serious health crisis and now a death in my family. But things are slowly getting back to normal, and I would love to reconnect with you.”

      Honestly, anyone who has a problem with that explanation probably isn’t someone you want in your life.

      I wish you the best, and hope that you feel a little better with every day that passes.

      • Thanks for your thoughts. And I keep moving on as life goes on. I appreciate your suggested write up and do think it is a good road to take. I was thinking a very similar kind of road, but great to hear back from another professional with their thoughts.

  9. Hi Pamela,
    My biggest challenge:
    I want to help my audience to improve the quality of their lives by applying mindfulness in their lives along with other positive qualities such as acceptance, gratitude, forgiveness, and humor. However, I’m not sure if this is the right choice, also I’m hesitant to ask my audience to pay for this.
    Thanks and all the best.
    Rohi

    • Rohi, the way to do this is to position your offer in terms of how learning these things will benefit people.

      So for example, you know that their lives will improve. But can you give very specific examples they’ll relate to?

      For example:

      “Learning this technique will help you glide through life’s annoyances like traffic, a full inbox, or a demanding boss with ease and peace.”

      When people can see immediate ways in which they’ll benefit, they’re usually happy to pay.

  10. Hi Pamela

    I don’t have an issue at present but, since I haven’t posted a comment for quite some time, I just wanted to say hi!

    By the way, loved your post about your trip to Australia. Glad to hear you enjoyed your stay in my home town, Sydney.

  11. Hi Pamela,

    I am really enjoying your emails and blog posts – thank you!

    I am currently working with a designer on a new website and am really excited about it. I’m clear about my target market and offerings & it’s been so fun picking color palettes and new improved logo design. My hurdle has been to implement systems in place such as a tool that helps with scheduling appointments so I am learning about these systems and starting to figure out a game plan about how I can implement these into the new site and into my business processes. I know that I run around in circles a lot so I’m excited to get things more streamlined!

    • Alison, I really like scheduleonce.com for scheduling appointments. It links with your calendar, and coordinates all the emails between you and the person who’s asking for an appointment. I’ve used it successfully for several years: there’s a small cost, but it’s well worth it.

  12. Hi, Pamela…

    I’ve spent a couple of years building up the website and writing a weekly blog, partly to convince myself (!) that I knew enough to dive into my business. Now finding my target market is the next challenge. I’ve done my first nice-sized project and have a consistent brand message. (Thanks to the great guidance in your posts, I think I’m aligned right with colors and fonts). But what if your market is not reached the best online? Is there much point in continuing to put energy there with blog posts and a business Facebook page? This marketing and business development “stuff” is not natural thinking for me!

    • Hi Ann! If your business is primarily reached offline, I still recommend you have a web presence. People look to the web to find out more about businesses, so having a blog and some solid informational pages on your site will help establish trust.

      As far as a Facebook page goes, that really depends on the kind of results you’re getting from it. I think your own web property will always be seen as more valuable and authoritative than a page you are “borrowing” on someone else’s platform. If you have high engagement there, then continue! But if it’s taking a lot of time and you’re not seeing results, you could try putting it in “maintenance mode” and just posting once a week.

  13. Hi Pamela!

    I just found your website and I’m very impressed with your content. I’m getting started with a consulting business for content and social media marketing.

    When picking my keyword strategy, I’m having a difficult time deciding whether to be location specific or not since content marketing strategy as a field is very trendy.

    I’m currently in New Jersey, and while I don’t want to limit my potential clients, I know that if I focus on NJ specific keywords, I’m more likely to find clients in the area. That being said, I don’t want to alienate clients not in NJ. What would you recommend?

    Thanks for doing this!

    p.s. I found you via this content marketing influencer article: https://expresswriters.com/the-top-60-content-marketers-you-should-be-following-on-twitter/

    • Welcome, Garrett!

      This is a tough one. My first inclination would be to say that this doesn’t seem like a business that’s tied to geography, so you don’t need to aim for New Jersey keywords. There’s probably a way to incorporate them, though, especially on your About page, so local clients know you’re close by.

  14. Hi Pamela,

    My biggest challenge is time!

    I have a full-time, Monday-Friday job as a project manager. However, my dream is to blog/write for a living. I want to be able to work from home and spend as much time with my wife (and our future family) as possible.

    So, in addition to the 40 hours I put into my job each week, I’m building my blogging profile. I have had the honor and privilege of writing twice for Jon Morrow. I’m now a regular contributor to OptinMonster’s blog. I’m (as you know since you graciously agreed to provide me a quote) working on a guest post for ProBlogger, and I have several other guest posts scheduled. And if all that weren’t enough I’m writing multiple times each week on my own blog.

    My profile is growing, bit by bit, and with it has come more requests for my time. More interview requests. More questions from my wonderful readers. More inquiries from people interested in guest blogging for my site.

    It’s a struggle deciding what I should prioritize. How do you handle it, Pamela? I can only imagine how busy you are with BBS, a full-time Copyblogger position, plus your family life. Do you have any pointers?

    Thanks in advance for any input you provide!

    Big fan,

    -Kevin

    • I think you’re off to an amazing start, Kevin. I had no idea you were juggling a full-time job!

      That’s how I started out, too. Blogging was something I fit in during my evenings and weekends. I had kids at home and a business that was doing well, so I just found time wherever I could.

      Obviously, you have to take care of family and business, so that’s a priority. Beyond that, I made it a priority from the very beginning to post here on a regular basis, and to guest post on a regular basis, too. Both things helped my audience grow steadily over the years.

      Once I had products to offer, I was able to slowly taper off the new clients I was taking on for marketing and design help. It took a few years, but eventually my income from this site replaced about 85% of my previous business income: I was basically down to one former client I didn’t want to stop working with. I finally had to say goodbye to them when I joined the team at Rainmaker Digital last year.

      Not sure how that translates to a full-time job working for someone else. I think you’re smart to focus on getting the word out and growing your audience: these things take time, and the earlier you start, the better.

      Good luck! Can’t wait to see how things develop for you. 🙂

  15. Hello Pamela,
    My problem is that it seems I’ve lost focus. I no longer have the motivation to keep on with my business. I’m trying to figure out ways through which i can get back my motivation and focus so i can continue.

    I’ve been so busy and each time i open up my laptop to do one thing or the other on my blog, i will waste all the time doing things that are just meaningless.

    • Have you tried setting a timer and trying to focus for a very short time, like 20 minutes? Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting started.

      Good luck!

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